West Central Mental Health Center has provided compassionate and valuable mental health services to the residents of Lake, Chaffee, Custer and Fremont Counties for over 45 years. Expanding on past successes the center has initiated a new program, with funding through the State of Colorado Department of Behavioral Health/Judge Advocate General, serving repeat offenders who are diagnosed with a mental illness called Support Our Success (SOS). The goal of SOS is to reduce recidivism by assisting the client by identifying their needs and coordinating services to meet those needs.
The first step in launching this program was to hire a master’s level mental health clinician whose first task was to establish the referral network. This network is composed of representatives of local criminal justice agencies as well as community providers and other citizens who were given outreach and education about the goals of the program. This established a single point of contact for law enforcement, correctional and court professionals in the referral and follow-up processes.
The program design is based on the Wraparound modality which emphasizes a strengths-based, recovery focused process maximizing natural support building for the participants based on research conducted in the State of Oklahoma that indicated excellent results. SOS is designed to provide “one-stop-shopping” for supports and services to ease the transition from incarceration to community. Further, the program promotes clients becoming more productive citizens who are able to meet their own needs safely and effectively.
The SOS program will serve male and female adults from Lake, Custer, Fremont and Chaffee counties who have a criminal history (non-violent, non-sex offenses) and who also have either a severe and persistent mental illness or other major mental illness. Violent offenders may be included if, after screening, they are also determined to exhibit a low risk of violence to the community. Participants in the program may also have a co-occurring substance abuse disorder. Participants may self-refer to the program or be referred through the established referral network of parole and probation officers, police, detention centers, Colorado Department of Corrections, local public defenders and district attorneys, other treatment providers or family members.
Clients enrolled in the SOS program will receive outreach and monitoring, intensive case management and intake assessment services. At WCMHC, the Wraparound philosophy is emphasized to engage the client along with his/her family and other natural supports (which could include local agencies, law enforcement representatives, church members or other individual contacts) toward a shared goal for the client. Building a team with one common agenda provides the client with a consolidated plan for program completion and access to resources. Cultural competency and awareness is employed to identify factors that both enhance or impede treatment progress. Cultural factors are carefully incorporated into treatment modalities to promote positive outcomes based on the strengths and challenges faced by the individual enrolled in the program.
Of the services provided to participants in Support Our Success, case management (linking, coordinating, referring, supporting) is the primary modality utilized to facilitate client progress. Case management services will be offered at a minimum on a weekly basis, and may include linkage, coordination, referral and supports between the client and available community resources (family, friends, churches, food and other subsistence program referrals, medical care, educational, employment, prescription assistance, housing, budgeting) as well as ongoing coordination with criminal justice contacts. The focus of the case management efforts on the client’s behalf is to encircle the participant with sustainable supports that support their successful reintegration into the community.
Other mental health services available at West Central that may be offered to participants include: individual, family and/or group therapy (Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Seeking Safety, Motivational Interviewing with gender specific groups available), psycho-education, respite care, psychiatric evaluation and medication monitoring, addiction specific assessment and treatment services. Services also include access to a 24 hour services emergency services hotline, availability of face to face contacts during business hours as well as after hours in the event of psychiatric emergencies. Crisis services, along with ongoing treatment, will provide referrals to more intensive services as appropriate. Professionals available include psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, LPCs, LCSWs, RNs, case managers and peer specialists.
There are a variety of performance measures employed in the design of the Support Our Success program. First, the standard for response time from referrals in SOS specifies that contact is made with the offender by the Criminal Justice Clinical Specialist within 96 hours of receiving a referral and an assessment is scheduled. Treatment and intervention needs of the offenders are determined, that includes a case management plan and appropriate referrals, within 72 hours of that initial contact. All contacts are documented in the clinical record within 24 hours. Secondly, it is the goal of SOS to reduce recidivism among the participants in the program from a reported average of 79% (Bureau of Justice) to below 50% at the end of the first year of programming. Client progress will be closely documented in the clinical record that includes completion of the CCAR and may include the DACODS data collection systems. Additionally, the Clinical Justice Criminal Specialist will conduct monthly collaborator meetings with local agencies serving the offenders (emphasizing criminal justice professionals) and documentation of the proceedings included in the client record as appropriate. The CJCS will also participate in all identified meetings facilitated by the Department of Behavioral Health and the Judge Advocate General Coordinator.
Julie Cox, MS, Criminal Justice Clinical Specialist
Hugh Keating, LPC, CAC III, Program Supervisor
West Central Mental Health Center
3225 Independence Avenue
Canon City, Colorado 81212
111 Vesta Rd.
Salida, CO 81201
Suites I & J
Buena Vista, CO 81211
(Please call the Salida office to make an appointment in Buena Vista.)
P.O. Box 1583
714 Front St.
Leadville, CO 80461